Of Athenians and Manipuris


Leader Writer: Paojel Chaoba
Struggling to live in the present society, a society that reveres individuals with colossal bank accounts, having en-vogue cars, as with corrupt politicians, smugglers, who made it big and having tags of committing ‘white collared crime’ are pedestalized, hence contradicting the thinking philosophy of the common man. The state which saw statehood in 1972 may have come a long way, development is happening, security forces may have lessened their atrocities, at present, Imphal city is witnessing new traffic laws and questionable whatnot. But, for the man left with the option to fend for himself and family, surviving on a hand to mouth basis, there is also the felt to augment oneself. The urge may be so strong that morality and imbedded principles within oneself no longer matters and the flaws doctrine in the human psyche take over and the “sins’ kept under control runs rampant.

In simple words, the under privileged  Manipuri is crushed under the boot of the state administrators, those connected with individuals in power, whether it may be ‘connections’ pertaining to state or non state actors.

An overheard chat in a tea stall in one’s locality bears testament that the public is fed up with operations and administrations of both. Favoritism perpetrated by the elected and creamy officials, some UGs group with their senseless extortion. The underlying current is writ large in the heart of the commons and to shout that we have had enough, but fear of the unpredictable and ‘what might happen’, the ‘not my business” mindset stance are also one main hindrance in upbringing our society. One dare say that the voice of the public is ascertained more during a ‘time pass’ tea stall sitting, or over a ‘leipung’ chat. Comments printed on a newspaper, which is supposed to be an opinion forming body may seem irrelevant to the populace according to the present scenario.

Mentioning a Greek philosopher! Diogenes,who was a popular figure during the times of Alexander. Referred to as the “Mad Socrates” by Plato, his attitude was grounded in great disdain for what he perceived as folly, vanity, pretence, self-deception, social climbing, and artificiality of human conduct . He regularly walked the streets of Athens with a lighted lantern during the day. Quizzed at of his behavior, Diogenes replied that he was looking for an ‘honest man’. A nearly naked hermit with a dog, Diogenes scorned the general perception and lifestyle of the Athenian society then. When he was once visited by Alexander, “The Great”, asking him of what his heart so desired. Diogenes replied that Alexander should step aside as he was casting a shadow and blocking the rays of the Sun and that he was sunbathing at present. That reply to Alexander may have cost him his life, but on the contrary, Alexander was said to have retorted , “ If I were not Alexender , Then I would be Diogenes”.

In the context, with pertinence to the Manipuri society, most of us here run after favors and try to hobnob with those in power just as a means to “Get Rich Quick”.

Dwelling in the aspect, one may state that Diogenes, if was born in Manipur, then might have asked Alexander for a plump contract work. The “Manipuri Doigenes” has a family to look after and not like the Athenian who was single and forlorn, whose views and philosophy were based on cynicism and utter rejection of nepotism. Thus, comes the question of “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, now, every basic human seemingly wants reciprocation. Hence, Manipuris, the underprivileged feel the need to augment their living status. The “ Alexanders”, at present the MLAs may not be so wise as to ask what the Manipuri Diogenes or rather the public wants !  But know in their hearts that the issues vexing the state has to be responded in regarding positive effect. We need to observe then, how the new cabinet ministers take stock of the situation and in their mandated responsibility, try to streamline the hitches in their administration. With the programs and schemes duly provided by the centre, the public should be given the chance to say,” My dear MLA, step away as your shadow is blocking the warmth of the Sun”. To the public, a long live.


  1. Chaoba-ji you think. But the Manipuri Diogenes has been in prison not living in a bath tub same same. In her words “Without any shame, like a couple of birds, no permanent food but so free, so lovely” dismissed as bad poetry and in my, we shall be shit poor two turds on a city street and people would step over us because if they saw how beautiful you are when we were that shit poor how terrible life would be for us. Kangla is the last Manipuri news agency to publish my words because the rest are under orders to delete any personal story about your Diogenes and her lamp. Though a new book sponsored by your police force does tell of her personal life. If you want a preview, Singhajit her brother is the true hero risking all to live like Diogenes constantly in debt and how is he repaid by his sister having given her the best years of his life. No not the 1 million Gwanjiu prize guess again. Oh and it attacks her conservative morality, the backward stance of Meitei matriarchy and her internationalized stance on fundamental inalienable rights but don’t let me spoil it for you. Expect new heroes to emerge from the shadows.

    So well said the modern honest Manipuri with a family seeks not to overturn a corrupt violent system, they want their piece of the pie yes. Did I question her about why she gave the Gwanjiu to her brother, no I had heard tales of his breast beating. But whenever I asked her if her family needed anything she said No quite firmly. No one else asked. So yes I understand. Were she true to Diogenes’ calling she would either have refused the Gwanjiu outright the purest reaction yes. How the world would have stood up to stare. You mean there is one of these slimy backward injuns who doesn’t want money and status. What is she campaigning for again?

    But as you say it’s too much for the honest of the honest.

    And there is an obvious downside to your trickle down policy. Why should your corrupt masters give you anything. R K Anand has the 5.1 million from the Tagore. Ask him for audited accounts. He spun a story unchallenged that he single handedly oh ok with a regiment of bodyguards and from his fortress government compound, took on insurgents to treacherously campaign for the Ibobi Singh regime. Not one comment of hypocrisy.

    When a local chieftain presented Alexander with the head of his fleeing enemy Darius King of Kings Alexander had the chieftain beheaded. It wasn’t his place. Manipuris understand about knowing your place yes. The Solicitor General an anti-corruption judge brought back from retirement 2010 was shot twice in the back while travelling with two of your local Alexanders the CM concluding that he had not shown them enough respect yes so no inquiry no more solicitor general. The same advice was offered me by Onil K after interrogation by SIB but before your police commandoes’s DG personally dropped off a slimy officer for further harrassment of any who showed us kindness during my stay. But his version will feature in the forthcoming book. Success for long I was dismissed and ignored now they wish to hurt my feelings.

    What can you do who have families for your Diogenes whom you have imprisoned, your John the Baptizer, Gandhi-ji put that way the prognosis probably isn’t going to be roses. Write her a  letter of support asking her to stand in the 2014 election. If you asked she might relent. She won’t listen to me I am just the man she loves. And start attending the Lamphel hearings every fortnight. Last was 5th June next is 19th June. Just add 14 and keep going. Suu Kyi had thousands coming regularly. They risked rape, murder, robbery all sorts. But as you say they are Burmans. You are only Manipuris what can you do.

    Weight lifting and boxing, solitary sports. And in boxing at least you get to see where the punches are coming from. You don’t do team work. Like you say, Manipuris just think of themselves. The hill tribals would make fine marathon runners. But you’d need flat roads to be built and what are the chances of development money going for the project you just want your cut yes. And let’s say they were built. How far would a Naga or Kuki Chin actually get to run before they were shot dead in Modern Manipur?

    You are right Chaobi-ji. Stick to boxing, power lifting and demanding your cut of the corruption. And don’t support Sharmila what was i thinking you have families yes. You have to think of them and their future.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here